Communique – Second Meeting of the Ministerial Council on Trade and Investment
Commonwealth, State and Territory Trade and Investment Ministers met on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation at NSW Parliament House in Sydney, New South Wales, on 20 October 2023 for the second meeting of the Ministerial Council on Trade and Investment (the Council) chaired by the Australian Government Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell.
Ministers reaffirmed that the Council established in 2022 under National Cabinet is underpinned by a commitment to genuine partnership and a coordinated national approach between the Commonwealth and States and Territories across identified trade and investment priorities.
Ministers noted the continuing efforts to diversify international trade and investment opportunities to enhance economic security for a more resilient, productive and inclusive economy.
Ministers affirmed the importance of free, fair and open global trade and investment, underpinned by the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. They support the continued progress in negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, and the Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement.
Ministers welcomed market access opportunities afforded by entry into force of trade agreements with the United Kingdom and India, and reiterated the importance of working collaboratively across the Commonwealth, States and Territories to encourage utilisation of the agreements. Ministers also welcomed the signing of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement upgrade, which when in force will deliver additional commitments on services and investment that will benefit Australian exporters and investors. This includes expanded services and investment commitments for financial services, telecommunications and education services, new streamlined trade facilitation practices and new consumer protection and digital economy commitments.
Ministers supported a focus on reform outcomes at the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference in February 2024, particularly progress towards fixing the dispute settlement system – an important tool for enforcing our commercial interests.
Ministers welcomed the positive developments in the Australia-China trade relationship, including the removal of trade impediments on a range of Australian exports. Ministers look forward to the timely and full resumption of trade across all sectors and products, and welcomed the stepping up of dialogue under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which is in the interests of both countries. With strong complementarities continuing to underpin Australia's economic relationship with China, Ministers agreed that it is important for Australia to have a significant and unified presence at the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2023 in November, with close to 200 Australian exhibitors expected to participate.
Ministers welcomed Invested: Australia's Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040. Ministers also welcomed the three initiatives, announced by the Prime Minister in September, which go to the heart of the strategy. Ministers highlighted the strategy's recommendation for a united, national approach to the way Australia engages in Southeast Asia, where enhanced coordination and collaboration efforts maximise the potential for growth and trade diversification within the region. Ministers agreed to implement the recommendation for the Commonwealth to work with states and territories, and business to ensure a coordinated approach to promoting Australia and leveraging Nation Brand in these important markets. Ministers look forward to engaging with the Special Envoy, Nicholas Moore AO, to further discuss opportunities identified in the strategy. Close engagement will be the key to effective implementation of the strategy. Ministers also noted the significance of the Australia-ASEAN Special Summit – 50th anniversary to be held in March 2024.
Ministers agreed to continue building a coordinated national approach in advancing Australia's trade and investment priorities, an approach that includes:
continuing efforts that support trade and investment diversification;
promoting our reputation as a trusted, reliable trading partner, and an important energy security partner in the Indo-pacific.
identifying opportunities to facilitate trade at and behind the Australian border;
improving national coordination in trade advocacy, marketing strategies and the conduct of trade promotion in overseas markets;
strengthening Commonwealth, State and Territory coordination in foreign direct investment attraction focussed on sectors of national significance;
active engagement and collaboration in support of Australia's participation in Expo 2025 Osaka, including by considering formal partnerships with the Commonwealth at the Expo;
supporting the clean energy transition and Australia's ambition to become a renewable energy superpower, and improving supply chain resilience; and
collaborating on First Nations economic uplift to support trade and investment opportunities for First Nations businesses and communities.
Ministers agreed coordinated national trade and investment initiatives, including:
work with the First Nations business sector to develop a Statement of Intent about how government will work together to improve trade and investment outcomes for First Nations Australians;
national principles underpinning trade promotion and investment attraction and a calendar of coordinated events in FY 2023-24; and
that Commonwealth, state and territory subject matter experts will identify and seek to fill priority data gaps to support a robust evidence base across jurisdictions, to inform decisions on trade and investment services.
Ministers acknowledged the importance of Australia's environment, social and governance (ESG) credentials to support investment attraction efforts.
Ministers appreciated the context and pathway for Australia's clean energy transition associated with achieving net zero emissions, and the importance of the role of critical minerals.
The Council will provide its annual report to the National Cabinet by December 2023.
Trade Ministers tasked senior officials to progress the workplan to deliver on the shared priorities and affirmed their intention to meet again in the first half of 2024 to review progress against the agreed actions.
Australian Government (Chair) Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism and Special Minister of State
New South Wales (Co-host): the Hon Anoulack Chanthivong, Minister for Industry and Trade; Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading; Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology; Minister for Building; and Minister for Corrections
Australian Capital Territory: Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister; Treasurer; Minister for Climate Action; Minister for Economic Development; and Minister for Tourism
Queensland: the Hon Cameron Dick MP, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment
Victoria: the Hon Tim Pallas MP, Treasurer, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Economic Growth
Western Australia: the Hon Stephen Noel Dawson MLC; Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and the Digital Economy; Science; Medical Research; Minister Assisting the Minister for State and Industry Development, Jobs and Trade
Northern Territory: Mr Luis Da Rocha, General Manager, Strategy and Policy, Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade attended on behalf of the Hon Nicole Manison MLA, Deputy Chief Minister; Minister for Advanced Manufacturing; Minister for Mining and Industry; Minister for Northern Australia and Trade; Minister for Parks and Rangers; and Minister for Tourism and Hospitality
South Australia: Mr David Reynolds PSM, Chief Executive, Department for Trade and Investment attended on behalf of the Hon Nick Champion MP, Minister for Trade and Investment; Minister for Housing and Urban Development; and Minister for Planning
Tasmania: Mr Mark Bowles, Deputy Secretary, Business and Jobs, Department of State Growth attended on behalf of the Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP, Premier; Minister for State Development, Trade and the Antarctic; Minister for Tourism and Hospitality; and Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing